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Yoga Reach: Mindful Movement for Parkinson’s Disease

Yoga is one of the complementary therapies that can be beneficial to those living with Parkinson’s disease. Char Grossman offers adaptive therapeutic yoga to members of the Parkinson’s community in Cleveland, Ohio and will be offering a YogaReach Mindful Movement workshop for for PD professionals in July at Mark Morris Dance Company in Brooklyn, NY. Click here for more information and scroll down to learn more about her experience with yoga.

Helaine Isaacs
PUW Event Director

 

In 2004, I became the founder of YogaReach, LLC, an adaptive therapeutic yoga program for people with medical challenges. My program became a continuing education resource that works with like-minded organizations and provides group/private adaptive therapeutic yoga programs and professional training workshops. At this point of my life, I had no familiarity with Parkinson’s disease (PD).

As a nationally certified school psychologist and yoga teacher, I was ready to provide services. Being a stroke survivor, I understood neuromuscular conditions. Suddenly, clients with PD began attending my program. I needed to broaden my education. I undertook education classes, became a certified yoga therapist and took a deep breath. As I reached to the sky, I combined “body, mind and spirit” which incorporated adaptive techniques to strengthen the needs of people with PD. Ironically, a few years after this creation, my father was diagnosed with PD.  Life changes.

I began teaching at InMotion, a non-profit center in Cleveland, Ohio devoted to the health and well-being of those affected by Parkinson’s disease, when they opened their doors three years ago. InMotion offers free exercise, art, music, dance and support groups. With my instructors, I teach three sold-out Mindful Movement Yoga classes weekly. Our clients and their carepartners report an overall increase in physical and emotional wellbeing from attending YogaReach Mindful Movement Yoga classes.

Our classes teach students with PD how to reenact adapted yoga movement sequences outside of class to improve their daily life skills (e.g., reaching for objects, driving a car). By uniting thought and action, our therapeutic yoga instruction encourages participants to reinforce weakened skills and gain new skills they thought impossible. Individualized instruction is taught in a positive, relaxed environment that encourages mindfulness, decreases stress and highlights socialization. As a result, our students feel reinvigorated. Our eclectic program consists of yoga therapy skills, Dance for PD techniques, and Delay the Disease interventions.

Two years ago, I attended the Parkinson’s Unity Walk. The gratitude I experienced at the Unity Walk was endless and similar to my experience of teaching yoga classes to those living with PD.

An additional part of the success I feel when serving people with PD, comes from nation-wide YogaReach Mindful Movement for PD Professional Workshops. Yoga professionals, allied health providers, fitness trainers, educators and wellness instructors have been taught to add skills that benefit people with PD to their area of expertise. The workshop has recently been presented in Florida and Arizona, which developed targeted programs for growing communities living with the effects of Parkinson’s disease.
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In order to offer more services to our compassionate population, I have the opportunity to offer the workshop this July at the Mark Morris Dance Center in Brooklyn, NY. Click here for more information. I am excited about the benefits that this can offer Parkinson’s communities in different areas of the country.

Change in lives, affects all of us. I am honored to consistently serve such amazing people. We have learned, “If you put your body and your mind together, you’ll see changes”  – and we do see those changes! We know that the Parkinson’s Unity Walk is part of creating that positive change.

Char Grossman
Director and Founder of YogaReach
Cleveland Ohio

 

2 Responses to “Yoga Reach: Mindful Movement for Parkinson’s Disease”

  1. Rick Cohen Says:

    Yoga can be helpful to seniors who often struggle to hold objects or while driving a car. Aging adults with Parkinson’s should engage in yoga or other simple exercises to make sure they perform daily tasks with ease.

  2. Parkinson's Unity Walk Team Says:

    We agree! Yoga is one of many forms of exercise that can be helpful to those living with Parkinson’s disease and can be easily modified to meet the needs of each person.

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